Where to Study in France? Top Student Cities for International Students

08 August, 2020



Deciding to Study in France is just the beginning of your study abroad journey. Sure, a large number of universities ranked among top universities of the world, and world-renowned research facilities are lucrative enough to make you decide that France will be your next study abroad destination, but the bigger question still would be where to study in France? What are the best student cities to study and work in France? It is also to be noted that there is more to France than just Paris. Here, we have made a comprehensive list of Top student cities in France for International Students.

Where to Study in France


According to Quacquarelli Symonds, Paris was ranked as the best student city not only in France but also in the world for the years 2014, 2015 and 2016. Even after 2016, Paris has never been ranked lower than fifth among the top student cities in the world. 18 of the top universities in France are based in Paris or have a campus in the city. Paris is by far the most historically important and culturally rich city of France. All of these combined make a very wholesome and unbeatable experience for international students, who want to make the most of their studying in France.

Top Universities in Paris:

  • PSL Research University

  • Ecole Polytechnique

  • Sorbonne University


The culinary capital of the country is also the second-largest city in France in terms of attracting international students. The city is located in the French Alpes beside the borders of Switzerland and Italy. The city is comparatively cheaper than Paris both in terms of tuition fees and living costs. This plays an important part for international students as they can get the same standards of education sans the higher education and accommodation costs of Paris. Compared to the average living costs of 1580 euros a month, Lyon has an average living cost of 1200 euros a month.

Top Universities in Lyon:

  • Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon

  • Institut National des Sciences Appliquées de Lyon (INSA)

  • Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1


France’s fourth-largest city comes at number three in terms of being one of the best student cities in France. For its brick and clay colours, it is named as the Pink city. Toulouse is also home to some of the oldest French Educational institutions, and business schools such as Toulouse Business School. Another lucrative factor of the city is its living costs, which are far lower than in Paris. Once again, the high quality of education at affordable costs works in the favor of the city. The average living costs in Toulouse are close to 1000 euros a month.

Top Universities in Toulouse:

  • Université Paul Sabatier Toulouse III

  • Université Toulouse 1, Capitole

  • University Toulouse - Jean Jaurès


Montpellier is fondly called the city of students and the sun. The city is beaming with both domestic and international students, making it extremely diverse. The weather is also pleasant all year round, all the more reason to choose Montpellier as a study abroad destination for many. The living costs are slightly higher than of Toulouse at 1100 euros a month, but that is justified when the city is very close to those picturesque sunny beaches and every fourth student in the city studying at a world-ranked university.

Top Universities in Montpellier:

  • Université de Montpellier

  • Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier 3

  • Montpellier Business School


Situated at the base of the French Alpes, Grenoble is often known as the innovation capital of France. Grenoble is home to many of the highly ranked science, technology and Engineering Universities. In 2013, the city was home to more than 50,000 students and sixteen percent of those students were international students. Apart from science and technology, there are a number of business and management institutions in Grenoble attracting large number of international students to the shores of France every year.

Top Universities in Grenoble:

  • University of Grenoble - Alpes

  • Grenoble Graduate School of Management

  • Grenoble Institute of Technology

Where you can study in France in English?

There are more than 1400 courses available in France that are taught in English completely for international students. Campus France has a feature to filter all the English Taught courses, and almost all the major cities that you can name in France offer courses to study in France in English for the students with limited or no knowledge of the French language. If you want to know more about studying in France in English and how to find those courses of Campus France, read: Study in France in English

Study in France for Indian students

Like students from most countries, Indian students also prefer Paris as their study abroad destination in France. While there are a number of reasons to study in Paris, there are also a number of options available that are more affordable and hold the same prestige when it comes to education. In many cases, there are more chances of getting admission in other cities as the competition is higher in universities in Paris. Therefore, as we have mentioned above, there are a number of options other than Paris to study in France for Indian Students like Lille, Bordeaux, Rennes, Nice, and many more apart from the cities we have covered.

Top Student Cities & Study in France Cost:

For public universities in France, the tuition fees remain the same throughout the country at approximately 2770 euros a year for bachelors and 3770 euros a year for masters courses. For Private universities in France, the tuition fees will vary depending on the location, types of courses, level of specialisation, and many other factors. We have already discussed in this article how living costs are the highest in Paris and as we move away from Paris and other metropolitan areas, the cost of living can be significantly low. For more information on living costs in France, visit: Living in France